All Is Changing, Rapidly

These past days I’ve been socially negligent and professionally indolent while catching up on reading in rural France.

If you steer clear of mainstream headlines, you may find spellbinding news about the world.

We used to read articles that reviewed the year that just passed, and predictions about what might come next.

Although sometimes breathtaking, such information was generally comprehensible: NATO, say, would expand, or the dollar would strengthen, or a revolution would end, or NASA was assembling some new space probe.

Today reality is changing faster than ever before. The rate of change is climbing so steeply that much of what is taking place around us sounds like science fiction.

We’re also becoming so used to this that even bizarre incomprehensibility fazes few.

Instead of marveling at change, we talk about the price of diesel or the latest Netflix series.

Consider these realities:

  • Russia has recently launched a nuclear power plant that floats on water.
  • On New Year’s Day, the New Horizons space probe will visit Ultima Thule, a chunk of rock located 1.6 billion kilometers past Pluto, and will try to learn about events that occurred 4.6 billion years ago. *

  • Agrivoltaics—where crops are grown below solar panels to increase land use efficiency by more than 60 percent—are spreading. **
  • Some yachts will be 3-D printed.

  • All of the digital data created by humans in one year could be stored, in the future, on four grams of DNA, which would weigh about the same as eight paperclips.
  • A single celled organism lives and replicates in underground conditions where the temperature remains at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, or 121 degrees Celsius—well above the boiling point of water. Talk about hot sex.

  • The amount of life below the surface of the earth (and not on the earth, or in the oceans) is about 300 times the quantity of the biomass of all humans.
  • In Venezuela prices double every 25 days, while the country’s economy shrunk by half in the past five years.***
  • The percentage of the world’s population living in ‘extreme poverty’ was 40 percent in 1980. By 2015 it had dropped to less than 10 percent. ****

  • The universe is expanding, and the rate of expansion is growing.
  • 22 million scientific papers have been published in the last century. +

The world in which we live is changing, rapidly.

Strap in and get ready for a future you likely never dreamed of. Say a prayer that this will generally be positive.

Best wishes as you enter 2019—and thanks again for tuning in!

* Economist The World in 2019.

** Wired Magazine  UK edition Jan/Feb 2019: ‘Plants will Give us Power.’

*** Foreign Affairs; Nov/Dec 2018. ‘Venezuela’s Suicide.’

**** Foreign Affairs; Nov/Dec 2018. ‘Doomsday Delusions.’

+ Scientific American ‘Revolutions in Science.’ Fall, 2018

Comments from Readers

  • The headline piqued my interest and this was an enjoyable read. Thanks for sharing your perspective and so many fun facts. Happy New Year.

  • Tom

    Glad you Enjoyed Barb! Hope 2019 is Bright and Wonderful for you and family!!

  • Great year END review, tom!

    I’ve linked to it in my current post.

    Merry Christmas!

  • Tom

    Merci Beaucoup! Have a Splendid 2019 … 🙂

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